My Experience eating a keto OMAD vegan diet

You can read an update on my diet here.

The first three weeks have passed since I have consistently been eating a ketogenic high fat vegan diet. Combined with only eating one meal a day (OMAD). That means I fast for 22-23 hours each day. My regiment includes one or two short aerobic exercise sessions each day and one body weight strength training session. Aerobic exercise is done in the morning and midday (if possible) and the strength training session in the evening before the meal.
Nuts are a big part of my diet
I love nuts for their flavor and the slow-release of energy

The meal consists of: (1500kcal, 60-75% fat, 10-20% protein(50-70gr), 10-20% carbs(50-80gr))
1. Nutrient-dense green drink (wheatgrass, spirulina)
2. Small portion of legumes (30-50gr dried)
3. Flaxseeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts, soy,  etc. in different forms (sprouted, nutbutter, raw, roasted, yogurt)
4. A mixture of seasonal vegetables (soup, stir-fried with coconut-oil or steamed)
5. Multi-vitamin / multi-mineral, Q10, Condroitinsulphate, Creatine

I copied most parts from the Amen-Protocol from Dr. Amen-Ra. I will start from there and experiment with what works for me. As you can see, I slightly changed my macro-nutrient ratios.

Let me quickly share with you what I observed so far.

The first few days were brutal. I was considerably more tired. My energy levels fell down rapidly as I was used to a high carb diet for several years. I guess my body had to adjust and turn enzyme production around 180°. I was not doing much sport these first days. After several days I continued to feel better.

After two weeks my energy-levels were not only back to normal but I honestly feel better and more stable energy-levels throughout the fast. I tried long intermittent fasting intervals (around 20h) before with a high carb diet. But this did not produce the same results. I was hungry and needed the energy from food. Now I can feel that I am much better able to tap into body-fat as an energy-source.

Hunger was present in the beginning. But, because I had the same eating window every day, my digestion quickly adjusted. I am still getting the feeling of an empty stomach regularly but this does not feel so extreme that I need to eat to handle it. It actually feels good to embrace this emptiness. It makes me feel alert and gives me the energy for mental tasks. The blood can go where it is needed and is not drawn to the digestive system for assimilation.

I can honestly say I do not want to go back to eating 3 meals a day. Even if it were only for the mental  clarity and focus this combination of intermittent fasting (OMAD) and the ketogenic diet provides. It feels truly wonderful to live in a body that runs on the clean, efficient fuel of body-fat during the day.

Another thing I observed on this calorically restricted diet is my quality of sleep: even though it is now getting darker in the mornings, it is easier for me to wake up. I often wake up long before my alarm and can use that time to meditate and go for a short run. I think I require less time to regenerate due to less food and less calories that need to be processed. Caloric restriction is associated with increased life-span and part of that is a slightly elevated cortisol level in the body. And therefore it makes sense that you wake up easily on this diet. Cortisol is the hormone that is released in the morning to increase energy and arousal. In combination with the high fat diet, this leads to optimal utilization of fatty acids for energy. Combined with the protein-sparing effect of ketones, increased human growth hormone  and the anabolic effect of eating all protein and calories in one meal, this should favor a lean body-composition with increased muscle mass.

Before this two week strict OMAD-period I had several occasions where I had to eat lunch due to work. I choose to eat a big salad without dressing or anything that contains significant calories. It consisted mainly of lettuce, onion, tomatoes… So it did not really break my fast.

But I also observed some issues:
  1. It was (is) a challenging mental process to view food differently. In order to thrive on this lifestyle you need to find satisfaction in other things than food for more hours of the day. I still greatly enjoy the one meal, but I had to fill the other times with something else. Constantly thinking about food will inevitably make you fail on this lifestyle.
  2. I am getting leaner. I am now at the point where people ask me already if I am feeling well. And they mention I am “soo thin”. This level of leanness is not really considered normal anymore by many. But I still feel great and I have a little bit of fat to lose to look my best visually. Muscles already look more defined. 
  3. I am still trying to find the right sodium/potassium balance. I do not get cramps, but headaches that get better after ingesting potassium. I switched to salt that is 50% sodium chloride and 50% potassium chloride. This seems to help, but I introduce it slowly.
  4. Long-term increase in muscle mass can be difficult. I will have to incorporate oils into my diet in order to give my body the calories it needs to build muscle. 
An important thing for every beginner on this diet is to know that it will get better energy and mood-wise. And it can take several weeks for the metabolism to switch to very efficient fat burning. I am also still looking forward to how this will develop  in my own experience.

Update 06 Feb. 2018:
I had been eating like this for several month but suffered digestive issues throughout and thought they were related to this approach. But I this was not the case. I found out recently that I am highly allergic to yeast. On this diet I was regularly eating peanuts flavored also with yeast. Since excluding all yeast from my diet, the issues have resolved.

So I am giving this diet another try. Now my additional challenge is the goal of gaining muscle. I will see how it goes and am going to post updates after several weeks of doing this.
The changes I have made so far: increased caloric intake, incorporation of oils, protein-shake before the workout and a higher intake of salt (4g of sodium or 10g of salt per day).